What is one professional development skill that is important to be worked on at every stage in your career?
To help you continue to grow professionally in your career, we asked career coaches and business leaders this question for their best insights. From the ability to learn new things fast to reading more for knowledge, there are several professional skills that you need to keep developing to consistently stay on top of your career and progress to the highest level.
Here are eight professional development skills to never stop working on:
- Ability to Learn New Things Fast
- The Ability to Inspire
- Effective Listening Skills
- Digital Literacy
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Relationship Building
- Ability to Take Initiative
- Reading More for Knowledge
Ability to Learn New Things Fast
The days when you would learn something in school, then enter the workforce and apply everything you’ve learned your whole career, at the same job probably, are long gone. The ability to learn new abilities and adapt in a short amount of time is more important today than what you actually know. This is why I find it important to develop the ability to learn new things faster. Nobody is absurd, nobody expects you to become an expert in something in just a few days, but the ability to learn the basics quicker, and use this as a foundation to build upon later, while you approach new projects is essential in today’s work landscape. How you do this is entirely up to you, but you need to be aware of your learning process, your strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve as you learn.
Ionut-Alexandru Popa, JPG MEDIA SRL
The Ability to Inspire
Inspiration is a valuable asset that can magnetize the most skilled employees to your vision. It is the foundation of motivation and helps you exude charisma as a leader. There are innumerable ways to inspire your peers and employees. Whether it’s your work ethic, the way you handle high-pressure situations, or simply your positivity in the face of challenges, inspiration proves to be a shining light in the toughest of times.
Dillon Hammond, Achieve TMS East
Effective Listening Skills
Having been a mentor and delivered many professional seminars over the years, I have often been asked the question “what is the most important professional development skill to develop that I will use throughout my career?” My answer is quite simple: the skill of effective listening is one you will always need, and can really differentiate you.
It’s fair to say that most professional roles require high level communication skills, and one of the most elusive of these is being a great listener. It is also common knowledge that many people feel that they are effective listeners and yet the reality is that most of us are not! This is a skill that can be developed, and will require consistent effort and refinement throughout your career. But it is also a competency that pays great dividends.
Communication is not a competition, it’s about real understanding, and that never goes out of style. Being an effective listener is a skill that will benefit you throughout your career and life.
Greg Forte, Precision Medicine Group
It’s hard to come up with jobs that do not rely on technology and digital solutions. And those occupations that don’t yet do so will undoubtedly undergo digitization in the future. Therefore, a professional development skill that is essential to be worked on for continuous career advancement is digital literacy. Being technology-oriented, knowing the latest programs and solutions necessary for the job allows you to grow in your position and also increases your chances of promotion or job change. At the same time, it keeps you up to date with the market without the danger of becoming a non-attractive employee or digital ignorant. Not to mention how big a role tools and technology play in helping us with everyday tasks. Therefore, do not hesitate to learn new programs and applications, familiarize yourself with updates to old ones, and look for new technological solutions to make your work easier.
Nina Paczka, Resume Now
You have two options when anything goes wrong: either whine or do something about it. The latter is what will draw attention to you. Employers value employees who can think on their feet and solve problems quickly. The only certainty is that nothing is certain. Problem solvers, often known as high performers, are vital to a company’s ability to deal with unforeseen difficulties. Never go to your supervisor with an issue you don’t have an answer for. So, if a problem arises, take some time to plan out a solution before bringing it up to your employer.
Scott O’Brien, PPC Ad Lab
Networking – which is basically building strong relationships, is essential for career success and professional development. The large majority of people I work with have become successful in their professional life because of “someone who knew someone”. Being a person that is known, loved and trusted can help build a career much faster and to a higher level of success than being an expert at a certain area – focus on the relationships and come through for people.
Jessica Pierce, Career Connectors
Ability to Take Initiative
Initiative. Whether you’re in your first job or running a company, it’s always important to stay driven. Taking initiative on projects can earmark you as an important player at work, and that can lead to bigger opportunities. It shows that you’re confident and willing to put in the effort. As you move up the ladder, it only becomes more important to demonstrate that you’re prepared for leadership roles. While initiative may not seem at first glance to be a skill you can develop, it takes hard work to stay driven at all levels.
Vimla Black Gupta, Ourself
Reading More for Knowledge
No matter the stage of your career, consumption of knowledge can never be overrated. There is merit to our most successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople releasing their ‘books of the year’ lists. Avid readers, of both fiction and non-fiction, expand their worldviews, their curiosity, and their ability to think expansively. At every stage of one’s career, a trail of books should follow in the wake. As an homage to the old slogan, Reading is Fundamental, reading is truly fundamental for one’s success at any level.
Stacy Berg Jackson, SBJ Consulting, Inc.